Outside the Stade de France, there was chaos, tear gas, blocked gates and mile-long crowds.
But inside, there was order. The natural order of things.
Real Madrid were outplayed by Liverpool in the Champions League final, statistically at least, but they scored, and then they ground out the game.
That’s what they do, especially in this competition.
Like in the extra-time periods against Chelsea and Manchester City, once Madrid were ahead, they kept a vice-like grip on the lead. Liverpool buzzed around their area, but Thibaut Courtois never looked like he would be beaten.
The kings of Europe lifted a record 14th European Cup in Paris, doubling the tally of their nearest contender, AC Milan, who have seven. Coach Carlo Ancelotti has won the competition four times, more than any other manager.
REAL MADRID ARE CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE YET AGAIN 👑 pic.twitter.com/xUZbKKmjth— GOAL (@goal) May 28, 2022
Real Madrid have won five Champions League trophies in nine seasons, a run unmatched by any side - apart from Real Madrid, who also won the first five editions of the tournament, from 1956-60.
Los Blancos have dominated European football since it was invented, and even now, when they decide it's their year, nobody can stop them.
This was a miracle run to the final, starting when Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma gave the ball away to Karim Benzema inside his own six-yard box in early March.
The French side were 2-0 up on aggregate with less than half an hour of the tie left, with Kylian Mbappe and co. having dominated the 150 minutes played up to that point.
But once Donnarumma gave Madrid an inch, they took a mile, and then a few thousand more, from London to Manchester and then to Paris. And finally, back to the Spanish capital and Plaza de Cibeles, where they will celebrate their win with tens of thousands of supporters.
They had a miracle against Chelsea, where at 3-0 down in the second leg, they needed an unrepeatable, mind-bending assist from Luka Modric to Rodrygo to force extra-time.
Then another against Manchester City, two goals in just over a minute at the death from Rodrygo again to send the game to extra-time.
But in the final, they didn’t need Rodrygo, or another miracle, unless that’s how you want to describe Courtois’ performance.
COURTOIS. BEAST MODE. 😤 pic.twitter.com/zACTW8ncyM— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) May 28, 2022
Courtois came up big for Real Madrid every time they needed him to in Paris, most notably stopping an early Mohamed Salah effort, as well as producing a magisterial save to deny Sadio Mane in between times.
The stop from Mane, tipping the ball onto his right-hand post, was a Champions League-winning save. Courtois just didn’t know it yet.
Madrid thought they had taken the lead through Karim Benzema before half-time, but had the goal ruled out for an extremely debatable offside call against the forward, which hinged on whether Fabinho had intentionally or unintentionally deflected the ball into his path.
In the 59th minute, though, they took the lead through Vinicius Junior, who tucked home after a brilliant pass by the rampaging Fede Valverde.
VINICIUS JR. BREAKTHROUGH FOR REAL MADRID. 💥 pic.twitter.com/GVzH0BsgvZ— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) May 28, 2022
After that, Courtois and Madrid shut up shop. The best chance Liverpool had fell to Salah, but the goalkeeper used his forearm to block the Egyptian’s effort.
There was no redemption story for Salah this time, Courtois made sure of that.
The Belgium goalkeeper, who has enjoyed a remarkable season and is finally surpassing the heights he set at Atletico Madrid and didn’t quite live up to at Chelsea, was a pillar of strength in goal.
Courtois made nine saves, setting a new record in a Champions League final since Opta started collecting data, and with 59 saves he has also made more in a single campaign than any other goalkeeper.
"Yesterday in the press conference I said that when Madrid plays finals they win. (Now) I was on the good side of history,” Courtois told BT Sport.
"I saw a lot of tweets coming my way that I would get humbled today it was the other way round.
"Today I needed to win a final for my career, for all the hard work to put respect on my name as I don't think I get enough respect, especially in England. I saw a lot of criticism even after a great season.”
If you can’t beat them, join them, Courtois thought after losing in the 2014 final with Atletico against Real Madrid.
That time, Los Blancos needed another stunning comeback; this time Courtois made sure they didn’t.